I’m frustrated with the finger pointing that sometimes occurs between general education teachers and special education teachers. In the seven years I’ve been an administrator, in three different districts, I’ve seen this occur too often. At times, when a student accomplishes something through the services of a special ed teacher, gen ed teachers have the audacity to say the special education teacher did the work for the student. This is insulting to the student and to the special education teacher.
If we think about the different roles of the general education and special education teacher, we see a different focus. Generally speaking, the special education teacher focuses on each student’s strengths and weaknesses and works to capitalize on one and improve the other. General education teachers focus on delivering the content, while differentiating instruction, for all students in the class.
As I see it, everything the special education teacher does is to help the student succeed for you, the general education teacher. Why then, do general education teachers sometimes criticize the special education teachers when the child meets with that success? This seems absurd to me, because that’s exactly what the special ed teacher is hired to accomplish. Strengthening our students, helping them to succeed– this is the basic purpose of our school system.
General education teachers, special education teachers, teaching assistants, guidance counselors, specialists, administrators, and students have one goal: student success at every level. It’s nobody’s business to point the finger at any other person in the system. It’s everyone’s business to work together as a team in the best interest of the child.
Teachers who determine that students could never do the work without the special education teacher doing it for them should let go of their trusty bell curves. It’s time.